I mentioned Deepak Chopra in an earlier reflection. Here is another quote from him that got me thinking. He said he spent a month as a monk, following their way of life as closely as he could.
“I went to a monastery in Thailand,” he said. “We took our baths in the stream, we begged for our food in the streets. I shaved my head and walked barefoot. My head monk asked how it was walking. I said it hurt without shoes. And he said, ‘It hurts on the foot that’s down, but the one that’s up feels really good – so concentrate on that one.”
What a lesson that is. How long in walking is one foot above the ground? I figure one second at the most. So to follow the advice of the head monk, we would have to take our “feel good” moments in increments of seconds. I tried it, and you know I could accumulate more “feel good” seconds than I thought possible. In fact after an hour of testing those tiny snippets of time, I felt pretty good about what was happening around me.
It is so easy to concentrate on what is not pleasant and try to get rid of it, than it is to concentrate on what is pleasant and strive to encourage or add to it.
I am a rather positive person. I enjoy life and humor and thoughtfulness. But I realized after that short test that I miss so many sweet happenings. For example, a little boy, maybe 3 years old, holding his Mother’s hand, lifted his other hand to me and waved. I did not know him or his family, and would have missed the sparkle that tiny action awoke in me if I had not been looking for good things.
I was riding a cart to work, and slowed down because there were several birds busy and I did not want to disturb them. One sparrow tilted her head and looked right at me as if to say, “Thanks.” I never saw that before.
How we look at things does make a difference. And if we do not look for lovely things, we may see only useless stuff. Keep your eyes wide open!
S. Sharonlu OSF
Sisters of St. Francis, Oldenburg
Oldenburg Franciscan Center
p.s. Join us July 7th to gain a deeper perspective of the Our Father based on scholar Neil Douglas-Klotz’ book, Prayers of the Cosmos.